Jersey Purchase 2012

Woof.  This could be a tough endeavour.  Aaron Hill was the last jersey purchase I made, and he was traded within a year.  I honestly didn’t think that Alex Anthopoulos would trade him that quickly.  Perhaps this is providence though; the new (old) jerseys look absolutely fantastic, and I’ve been itching to get me one.

I must apologize, this started off as a simple musing, but turned into a full review of the starting line-up.  Guess I got carried away!

The million dollar question remains however – who to put on the back of my jersey?

aka - Joey Bats

Jose Bautista – This should be a no-brainer.  Boomtista has been putting on a clinic for major league hitters the past 2 years, and no amount of drug testing can seem to prove that his herculean increase in production is caused by something other than a mature attitude at the plate and a sweet swing.

Having said this, I feel like anybody and their great-aunt can see how amazing Bautista is, and I’m a bit hipster-esque in this regard, so I’m likely going to let this one slide by.  This selection is just a little TOO obvious.

Brett Lawrie – Another no-brainer, and a relatively safe pick given what Alex paid to get this guy into the organization.  He’s also Canadian, super young, and has a huge ceiling.  I’m a bit nervous about his longevity at the major league level due to his energy & intensity level…  He’s also only got a half season under his belt, so it’s hard to not look at his current body of work and not be excited.  I also feel like “Lawrie Mania” hasn’t quite worn off yet.

Every player has his slumps  and whether Brett can keep his prodigious production over 162 games is yet to be seen.  Perhaps the honeymoon will wear off this season?  I certainly hope it won’t.

Colby Rasmus – A lot of fans were put off with the new kid on the block, and since arriving in that 3-team block-buster trade, everyone has extremely high expectations of him.  Lets take a moment and take a look through Colby’s eyes however.  He was just traded from a team making a playoff run, to a team that was not playing meaningful baseball.  The Cardinals would go on to win the World Series.  25 years old and getting settled into a new city, a new country, and a stadium that is only ever less than half full?  Yeah, I might be depressed too.  Having said this, I’ve fallen in love with this guy’s swing.  There’s something distinctly “John Olerud-esque” about it, and it certainly takes me back.  Watch some of his highlight reel and you might understand where I’m coming from.

I’ve got my fingers crossed for a rebound season from this guy, and if I get his jersey, I’ll look like a genius.  On the other hand, if he flops, I’m not sure about his future with this club with Anthony Gose waiting in the wings….  and my investment will be scorned every game I go to.  Risky business here.

Adam Lind – No.  I got burned by buying an “Aaron Hill” jersey a couple of seasons ago, and I’m not going to risk it with Adam.  He’s had some success, with that breakout silver-slugger year in 2008, but offers little in the way of protection for Joey Bats…  There was a stretch in Arlington that gave me hope last season, but he fell off the bandwagon.  Consistency Mr. Lind, and lay off the inside breaking ball for the love of god!

Travis Snider / Eric Thames – This would be easier if I knew who would be starting in Left Field this year!  Would love to have Snider up here, but he’s got a LOT of work to do.  I also loved what I saw from Thames, and he seems like a good kid.  I feel like one of these guys is serious trade-bait this year, and the other will be in the Major League roster.  Neither looks to be a secure investment in terms of a Jersey.

J.P. Arencibia – This purchase would be a lot easier if I didn’t know that Travis D’Arnaud wasn’t waiting in the wings.  He’s got a lot of pop in his bat and his defensive game is improving however…. Alex Anthopoulos will have a very difficult decision to make this year, unless J.P. flops or Travis gets injured or something…

Having said all that, this guy tweets like a fiend.  His stuff is money.

Yunel Escobar – He’s been inked long term, but we have strong prospects down at the minor league level once more!  He turned out to be a perfect lead-off batter last year, only way he could have improved that was if he stole 30-40 bases a season.  His defense was also very solid.  He DOES need to learn English however, which is what’s stalling me…

Kelly Johnson – No.  I’m not sure if I’ve forgiven Alex for the trade that sent Aaron Hill and Johnny Mac to the Diamond Backs.  I certainly won’t be rubbing fresh salt into the wound by purchasing that Jersey.

Wow, I guess that wraps up the position players…  Moving onto the pitchers…

Ricky Romero – Gotta love his attitude, his ‘gumption’ and the way he’s taken on the #1 spot in our pitching rotation.  He’s got a brutal change-up and a lazy curve balanced with an effective fastball…  We got ourselves a very serious candidate right here.

Brandon Morrow – I love this guy.  His stuff is electric, and if what I’m reading online turns out to be true (although I recognize it should be taken with a grain of salt given that the Blue Jays media are currently spinning his recent contract extension), he was trying to conserve the intensity of his pitches to go deeper into games.  That’s not how this guy works.  He needs to go out there and infuriate batters.  Make them swing and miss.  If he does that every single game, he will be successful.  I feel it in my gut.

The rest of the rotation is kind of in flux, and the relief pitchers…… Unless it’s a lights out closer like….

Sergio Santos – I saw this guy play in Chicago.  He’s got great stuff…. but whether he’ll slam the door for us in the 9th inning or not is yet to be seen.  Particularly in the AL East.  Maybe give it a few years.  This one may be appealing more then.

So I guess the finalists (in no particular order) are:

  • Brett Lawrie
  • Colby Rasmus
  • Ricky Romero
  • Brandon Morrow

We’ve got some time yet, we’ll see how spring training goes…..


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